By Lee Braver
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Additional resources for A Thing of This World: A History of Continental Anti-Realism
The furniture of the universe does not rely upon us for existence or for essence, excluding trivial examples of things we have made or which depend upon us in relatively obvious and uninteresting ways, such as thoughts or beliefs. The fact that these entities are—and that they are what they are—is unaffected by the facts that and what we are, think, or say. Michael Devitt, one of the staunchest realists around, believes that this ﬁrst component deﬁnes and, in fact, exhausts realism: An object has objective existence, in some sense, if it exists and has its nature whatever we believe, think, or can discover: it is independent of the cognitive activities of the mind.
Giles Deleuze argues that the roles of sage and priest overlap in “the ancient conception of Wisdom: the sage was deﬁned partly by his own submission, partly by his ‘ﬁnal’ accord with Nature” (Deleuze 1984, 14). As pious knowers, we submit to reality, carrying the tablets down from the mountaintop without commenting in the margins. 23 As Rescher says of mind-independent reality, “In the main it has the whip hand and we merely respond to its causal dictates. And this is true in cognitive aspects as well” (Rescher 2000, 107).
His non-negotiable starting point is, as the historian of analytic philosophy Peter Hylton puts it, “that there is an absolute independence of the objects of knowledge from the knowing mind” (Hylton 1990, 126; see also Hacker 1996, 7). ”27 Again this seems deﬁnitional, since (what he considers to be) the idealist view that “there can be nothing which is not experienced” would never have “ﬂourished if people had taken the trouble to find out what the word ‘experience’ is capable of meaning” (Russell 1959a, 144).